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Posted on: Sunday, 18 April 2010 by Rajiv Popat

As a part of my job, I meet young and budding programmers around the world, connect to them and work with them. One of the thing that amuses me more than anything else as I talk to some of the brightest programmers that I find is the amount of programmers who have 'plans' of starting their own organization or their very own personal pet project in the 'future'.

Ask them if they have a prototype or a work-in-progress version and you will find yourself staring into the wilderness of no-response. When these folks say they 'plan on' having an organization or a pet project, they don't mean they are actually working-on one. What they really mean, is that they are 'hoping' something magical just turns their 'plans' into reality without their doing anything.

Put more specifically, they mean that they have 'dreams' of starting their organization or their pet project someday.

After a couple of months however, these dreams after a lot of talking and without any real work, become hugely boring.

Not to say that these folks do not have in them what it would take to start an organization or just a pet project. Every single one of them have what it takes to start either of these. What they lack however, is determination and consistency. 

 Paul Graham explains this rather articulately in his article on determination. He explains:

We learned quickly that the most important predictor of success is determination. At first we thought it might be intelligence. Everyone likes to believe that's what makes startups succeed. It makes a better story that a company won because its founders were so smart.

The PR people and reporters who spread such stories probably believe them themselves.

But while it certainly helps to be smart, it's not the deciding factor.

There are plenty of people as smart as Bill Gates who achieve nothing.

In most domains, talent is overrated compared to determination—partly because it makes a better story, partly because it gives onlookers an excuse for being lazy, and partly because after a while determination starts to look like talent.

If you have ever thought of starting an organization or maybe even just a small pet project that you can work on for your entire life, remember that the world around you will not suddenly change magically to give you more time, means or measures to work on it and make it happen. None of anything that is worth doing is so easy that anyone can do it.

The least you can do is stop giving lame excuses for your own laziness, get your butt off that chair, power on your laptop after your return back from work and write some code over a nice warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Stop whining and start shipping.

Keep opening the code editor day after day consistently for years and who knows, you might wake up one day and realize that your dream was not just a boring little dream after all. Of course, there is also a possibility that after years of hard work you might realize that things just did not work out, but then if you don't put in the years of work, there is a guarantee that they won't.  Besides, if you want it bad enough, you don't have an option, do you?

Now stop giving those lame excuses about you being busy and go write the first screen of your pet project, the first draft of the first chapter of your book or your first blog post today.

I wish you good luck.